Finding appropriate lighting fixtures for the kitchen remains a bit of an enigma for many homeowners. Many folks don’t understand the basic concepts at work and even fewer realize the wide range of options on offer. This discussion tries to ease you into the subject. We help you decode every aspect of choosing the most relevant lighting fixture for your kitchen—from a functional or aesthetical perspective!
First Step: Get a Reality Check!
To find out if your kitchen lighting is suffering, you need to identify things that constitute a poorly lit kitchen. We have jotted down a few pointers for a quick check:
- Lighting fixtures that don’t perform well / need repeated repairs
- Too many shadowed areas in the kitchen
- Lack of proper lighting in food prep area
- Dependency on very few lighting resources
- No room for natural light
- Too much glare
Second Step: Getting the Right Kitchen Lighting Perception
Our experience says that there is a mindset, which needs to change. Too many people, including very conscious homeowners, are prone to falling for a flawed way of interpreting kitchen lighting. The usual misconceptions at work include:
- The existing format should not be hampered
- New wiring or fixture installations are always very expensive
- Lighting changes might incur large-scale overhauling
- Kitchens don’t need as much lighting as other rooms do
- Kitchen lighting really does not affect the mood of the space
Third Step: Get Acquainted with the Basics
- Types of Lighting Fixtures
Most kitchens can be effectively illuminated with any of these:
- Task Lighting – this is for dedicated workspaces like the countertops where the real action happens.
- Accent Lighting – from track lighting to recessed fixtures, this is what you need for giving the kitchen a distinct style. However, this is more about adding substance to the kitchen’s aura, giving it more depth.
- Decorative Lighting – this is purely about the looks. Also called cosmetic lighting, it is about making the kitchen aesthetically pleasing.
- Don’t Make Things Too Uniform
The number of lighting fixtures and their placement depends upon the size of your kitchen space and any unique requirements. For instance, busy kitchen countertops deserve Task Lighting. These fixtures ensure zero shadowing and bright, white light. However, you don’t need the entire kitchen to be as brightly lit as the main countertop or island. You don’t want every part of the kitchen to seem well illuminated like a work desk!
- Try to Overcome the Inherent Disadvantages
Any part of the kitchen that seems totally devoid of natural light or appears gloomy due to the existing color scheme, might need closer inspection. You can also bring in some bling into the kitchen via lighting fixtures. Featuring steel and silver finishing, you can find lots of scones or compact chandeliers that create a unique style statement. Such decorative lighting fixtures can deliver a contrasting or complementary style.
- Embrace Unique Challenges
We have come across homeowners installing low wattage, under-sink lights just because the children and pets tend to hide there! Such exceptional requirements are unique to every household.
- Understand the Colors at Play
We don’t preach a wild color palette that can make the kitchen look over-embellished. Too many colors and too much lighting can make the kitchen look uninspired and desperate for attention. You might want to opt for ambient lighting fixtures if you want a whiter, more appeasing aura where bright but smooth light is easy on the eyes. Such lighting works wonderfully well with mutely colored walls.
Fourth Step: Invest in Easy Lighting Solutions that Actually Work!
- You don’t want to overdo accent lighting that can make a glass-heavy kitchen look like a museum. Improper lighting angles can also cause too much reflection in such kitchens.
- Replacing central light with track lighting is a sensible choice when your work area has a bigger spread, beyond the primary countertop.
- Upper cabinets often block the light from ceiling fixtures to reach the surfaces below. Here, under cabinet lighting can be a big help.
- To see deep into corner of cabinets, install a micro switch or motion sensor that activates the LED light when the door is opened and turns off when it is closed.
- If you have a recessed light that does not provide good lighting, attach an adapter light. It is easy to screw in place of the bulb to create a pendant light-like look.
We Seriously Recommend: Using Dimmers!
For flexible lighting in your kitchen, you should add a Dim Lighting Switch. With this easy installation, an existing light can serve all three purposes—general, task and accent lighting. If you have a combined kitchen/dining area, consider putting the lights on a dimmer. With a dimmer set-up, you can keep the kitchen bright while the dining area remains dimly lit.
These are the just the basics for any DIY kitchen lighting project. Soon, we will update you with the technicalities—talking about energy saving lighting solutions to those that are more durable. In the meantime, please share your concerns with us: which lighting issue continues to bother your kitchen?